Historic Landscape Characterisation

Mawddach - Area 19 Gwynant valley (PRN 18349)



Historic background

The current road which leads up through the valley and is situated on the western side of the river is relatively modern, as the 1842 Dolgellau tithe map shows the original road up from the estuary to the farms above is on the eastern side of the river. It still exists as a footpath and links the farms of Cae-yn-y-coed, Waen fechan, Hafod-dywyll (an important, rubble-built vernacular upland sub-medieval farmhouse dating from c. 1600), Ffrwd-y-brithyll and Tyddyn Ivan Fychan (recorded as being in the township of Dolgledr'). The origins of the name Kings', given to the bridge and the house which is now a Youth Hostel, is not known. Caban Cadair Idris, nearby is a former school and school-master's house, built in 1876 in a simple Gothic style which once served a thriving farming community (based on the farmhouses in area 18 above) . There are no other recorded archaeological features here.

Key historic landscape characteristics


This is a small wooded area which is quite distinct from the surrounding landscape. Its extent, which is about 88ha, corresponds almost exactly with a SSSI (first designated in 1957 and revised in 1982) (CCW SSSI ref. Coedydd Abergwynant' 31WNA). It is a large oak woodland which extends along the, often steep-sided, ravine of the Afon Gwynant. Although much of the area is dominated by sessile oak, there are also areas of more mixed deciduous woodland comprising mainly ash and wych elm. The area is also important for bryophytes and ferns, some locally-rare shrubs and a good lichen flora (particularly on the hazel trees). This all supports an interesting set of breeding bird species, and the whole is growing over a series of Ordovician volcanic rocks (see also descriptions of areas 15 and 17) which are amongst the more common, acidic, sedimentary rocks which are responsible for the underlying appearance of this whole area around Cadair Idris.

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